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Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2003 10:00 pm

Today is another Spare the Air day in the San Joaquin Valley as high temperatures in the Lodi area are again expected to exceed 100.

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District designates Spare the Air days when air quality in the Valley is forecast to reach unhealthy levels. Hot temperatures often contribute to poor air quality.

The district promotes Spare the Air days to encourage people to be aware of the amount of ground-level pollution they emit.

Weather forecast

Pollutants include deodorants, hair spray, cleaning products, air freshener, non-water-soluble paint, vehicles such as cars, boats and gas-powered lawn mowers, and barbecues started with lighter fluid.

In Lodi, Manuel and Sydia Lemos were visiting their daughter from the Lake Tahoe area, and they felt the effects of the excessive heat.

Manuel Lemos said he is aware what a Spare the Air day is and is careful about what he does because of his asthma.

"It is helpful information for people to know so that they can do something about it," Sydia Lemos said.

Caleb Porter, a press operator for Abrahamson Printing, Inc. spares the air everyday by riding his bike to work.

Elena Wormington, a massage therapist, said she's glad the heat has arrived, partially because she has more clients who want to relax when the weather oozes with summer. The only time she really avoids going outside is when the molds and grasses kick up her allergies.

Jerold Yecies, an allergy and immunology doctor in Lodi, said that although heat does not increase allergens, it does make breathing more difficult for people with asthma, especially when pollution levels are high.

He recommend people take their medications, try to limit their heat exposure and stay hydrated.

"The allergy season started later this year," Yecies said. "Usually it starts in the middle of March, but because of the cold and rainy weather in April, the season has been extended."

heat_030627.jpg
Noah Wentland, 7, beats the 100-degree heat Thursday as he lets water cascade over him at the children's pool at Lodi Lake. (Jerry Tyson/News-Sentinel)

Mona Holguin said she doesn't mind the heat as long as she's in the shade, but she does worry about her dog.

"People should really watch their animals when it gets this hot and make sure they have plenty of water," she said.

Animals aren't the only ones vulnerable to the extreme heat.

City workers have to take extra precautions in hot weather, especially because it is hotter below ground level where they might be digging in trenches, said Frank Beeler, assistant water/wastewater superintendent.

"We encourage people to take frequent water breaks, to take it easy if they aren't feeling well, and we even try to provide shade tents where we can," Beeler said.

Thursday's high temperatures and a slight breeze helped spread a large vineyard fire in Woodbridge, which burned a shed and about 20 acres. Smoke from the fire could be seen from all over Lodi.

The fire started at 4:03 p.m. on Woodbridge Road and quickly spread through an abandoned vineyard that was not being watered, Woodbridge Fire Chief Mike Kirkle said.

"With the wind, the low humidity and the high temperature, the fire just walked right through the vineyard," he said.

Though the fire got close to the railroad tracks and caused the Amtrak train to move its schedule back, the track remained open, Kirkle said.

After about 35 minutes of battling the fire, firefighters gained control of the blaze before a boarded-up house caught on fire.

Twenty-one firefighters from Woodbridge and Liberty fire departments kept the blaze from reaching a line of trees, though they continued to work on the fire for several hours.


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